Security

Review: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software

Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware software, while a relative newcomer and lesser known than many other brands, is quickly becoming the weapon of choice for many technology professionals in their war against malware threats.

Adware, spyware and other malware threats are the bane of IT administrators, whether managing small business or medium-scale networks. Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware software, while a relative newcomer and lesser known than many other brands, is quickly becoming the weapon of choice for many technology professionals in their war against malware threats. Why? Its detection and removal rates are outstanding.

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Malwarebytes Corporation
  • Product: Anti-Malware
  • Version: 1.34
  • File Size: 2.74 MB
  • Operating systems: Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista (32-bit only)
  • Languages: English, Albanian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian.
  • Download: Download.com
  • Price: $24.95 (corporate licensing available)
  • Additional company information
  • Check out the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Who's it for?

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware targets any and all Windows users whose desktop computers are connected to the Internet. Small business technicians, corporate IT staff, IT consultants and other computer professionals will all find Malwarebytes Anti-Malware's detection spyware detection engine and removal capabilities very effective.

Even organizations with gateway-based security services will find Malwarebytes Anti-Malware an affordable investment that helps ensure business systems (especially mobile PCs that travel outside the gateway-protected office) steer clear of troublesome, time-wasting, productivity-robbing spyware infections.

What problem does it solve?

Spyware infections are increasing at unprecedented rates. The unwanted software, usually installed without the user's knowledge, typically monitors user behavior, collects personal, business and sensitive information, cripples system performance and often changes critical computer settings.

Infonetics Research distributed a report (Costs of Network Security Attacks) in 2007 that revealed 40 percent of small and medium-sized businesses' security downtime costs were attributable to spyware. Worse, Gartner Group (at its 2006 IT Summit) estimated 20 percent to 50 percent of companies will become infected with spyware.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software provides an effective solution for both preventing and removing spyware infections from business systems. The application excels at detecting and removing a wide variety of malware, including worms, Trojans, dialers and other forms of spyware.

Unlike many antimalware programs that often miss common infections, require extensive periods to complete scans, often scan only the main root drive, place too heavy a burden on system resources or fail to offer active protection, Malwarebyte's solution delivers the choice of fast, quick scans and possesses impressive detection rates. Further, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware can clean specific drives, uses minimal system resources and includes a licensed version that delivers active (real-time) protection.

Standout features

  • Thorough detection and elimination - Based on experiences detecting and removing active spyware infections on numerous PCs (including on systems running current and up-to-date versions of Norton, McAfee and Trend Micro security products), Malwarebytes Anti-Malware frequently identifies and quarantines or removes active spyware, adware, Trojan and other infections leading programs miss or fail to clean. Malwarebytes' removal rate is particularly effective due to the software's superior heuristic scanning technology and ability to mark locked files as infectious and delete them upon rebooting (thereby circumventing removal issues that often plague other Windows-based antimalware programs). The program also includes a standalone FileASSASSIN utility for removing locked files.
  • Customizable scans - Some antispyware tools don't allow customizing scans; for example, when slaving hard disks to a test system, scanning disks other than the main root (or C) drive isn't possible. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware provides the ability to specify whichever drive requires attention.
  • Real time protection - Unlike some antispyware programs, licensed versions of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware provide active, live protection against threats. Rather than waiting to detect and remove infections whenever a scan is launched, Malwarebyte's licensed product provides constant protection against malware threats.
  • Affordable pricing - Individual desktop licenses are reasonably priced (less than $25 a copy). Corporate licensing extends heavy discounts to business users, while consultants, nonprofits, and repair professionals receive significant discounts, as well.
  • Light footprint - Security software is often maligned for the amount of resources (specifically, RAM and CPU) consumed protecting desktop systems. Malwarebytes engineers have done well creating a very effective detection engine that uses few system resources. Active protection typically consumes less than 15MB of RAM and negligent CPU cycles, a very small price to pay, considering numerous spyware infections simply render systems useless.

What's wrong?

  • No 64-bit protection - Malwarebytes is yet to release a 64-bit compatible version of their Anti-Malware software for Vista users. As 64-bit platforms grow in popularity, adding a 64-bit-compatible application to the arsenal will help computer techs effectively protect those Windows boxes.
  • No server-side administration tool - Although command line support is available for quick scanning, which will help many network administrators pressed for time, large enterprises will find Malwarebyte's lack of server-side or centralized administration tools a deal breaker. For now, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is probably best deployed within organizations possessing less than 40 or 50 desktops.

Competitive Products

Bottom line for business

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware may be a relative newcomer, but the company's antispyware software has quickly become a favorite of technology consultants and network administrators. The software's advanced detection engine and effective removal capabilities help administrators dedicate time to other critical tasks. Priced reasonably, the licensed application uses few system resources, enables scheduled scans and updates, supports live protection and delivers detailed reporting, all of which helps businesses avoid common and expensive spyware infections without slowing them down.

User rating

Do you have experience with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware? If so, what do you think? Rate the product below and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware in Comments or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

23 comments
kim.mouser
kim.mouser

It has not let me and my users down yet! It always cures what ails my callers.

dixon
dixon

...not enough, in alot of cases. It seems to me that malware problems that are fixable without a complicated combination punch are getting less and less common.

Bob N.
Bob N.

I, too, have found great success using Malwarebytes to save clients from themselves. I couldn't help noting some of the complaints about various AV products, all of which I have tested or used at one time or another. My life has improved tremendously since I switched my clients to Sophos. It is a business-centric solution but the AV/firewall product can be deployed to consumers. The only drawback is that there is a three license minimum. The initial cost is somewhat higher than that of competing products but it is definitely more effective than anything I have used in quite some time.

specialfx63
specialfx63

I've been using MBAM for a while now. Not too long ago, my brother, a network specialist who hates to deal with his own laptop issues ;) got nailed with a drive-by that invited a bunch its buddies in for a party on his machine...What a wreck. I went to his house and brought a copy of MBAM with me. In 45 minutes that laptop was back to it's stable self. (over 20 different adware, spyware, virus infections)MBAM is my new AmEx Card! (Don't leave home without it!)

markbagus
markbagus

Today, I was with a customer who had Antivirus 360 malware issues. I used Spybot and AVG free. Then had to manually delete stuff from the hard drive and registry etc. Managed to get rid of it - but still got a stupid popup in google. Cleared cache etc - but still damn popup would not go away. Started searching on the internet and found this program and used it - voila ! Popup gone from google webpages (it also found a coupld of other sneaky things that the rest had missed). Wonderful program ! Made me happy and, more importantly, I had a happy customer ! Just checked my email now and found this article on Malwarebytes so had to post. Co-incidence or what ! On Friday 13th also....... Very recommended product ! Love it !!!!!

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

We'll catch these malware criminals and go to their house.Then let's burn their house to the ground and hang them by the neck until dead.We'll save $25.

Nt0009
Nt0009

Nice article, great info. All around excellent product. Found it on a forum about 5 months ago, though only recently started reading more about it in various blogs. For my use, the free version works wonders as a backup to our Symantec Corp. Version.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Why does Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware have exactly the same virus-voice-alert as Avast! ?? [i]D'you s'pose the bloke gets double performance royalties?[/i] ;)

chris
chris

For better or worse our Desktop Support team has also adopted Malwarebytes as the first response tool in diagnosing/scanning/removing malicious software due to its efficiency and ease of use in resolving malicious software issues. (Our network scope comprises of mainly WinXP sp3 and sp2 PC's running IE7 & IE6) Previously we were using a combination of Hijackthis/ccleaner along with several other malware removal tools while also heavily relying on malware forums to get the right mix to fix the problem. What's disappointing is that our primary antivirus/malware solution (Mcafee enterprise 8.5i with the antispyware module) is less effective and efficient than malwarebytes in removing threats. It raises the question why Enterprise level protection like mcafee struggles to compete on usability and effectiveness in combating malicious software against malwarebytes. (I have to admit a limited level of experience with mcafee enterprise latest releases as time restraints do not allow our team to test the latest and greatest enterprise level software eg Mcafee 8.7i. For that matter I have no idea what Symantecs enterpise level software has to offer) It would be interesting to see a more knowledgeable persons perspective on what I suspect is a gap in the enterprise level software.

rader
rader

The stand alone works great for my ITPC tech work. To remember if you have bad trojans blocking the malbm.exe from launching, just rename to YourName.exe to start in safemode. May have change in Explorer also and launch from there.

Jacky Howe
Jacky Howe

I run it now as part of my toolkit, regardless of the infection and it normally finds something that can be cleaned. I don't only rely on MalwareBytes but it is on top of my list for malware removal. Great article and I wasn't aware that it isn't for 64bit but I am now thanks.

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson

We have Sophos at work, and I loathe it! The updates are generally behind AVG, which is what I use at home, or simply don't work and indeed some machines failed to update themselves for 9 months without anyone noticing. It failed to detect and then quarantine a small number of machines that got conficker. It is a resource hog; so much so that it is now centrally configured not to scan emails because so many people complained that they couldn't get any work done. I was one of the complainers; my machine would be literally unusable for 25 minutes at a time whenever I triggered a send/receive. It doesn't matter how effective your AV is at detecting viruses; if it gets in the way of peoples' work then they will find a way to get around it. P.S. Malwarebyte's is part of my standard toolkit for some time. Never needed it at home as my own network has yet to get infected, but suggest it to work colleagues a few times.

michael
michael

Burning houses and killing people is a bit exagerated, but there is a legitimate point to your reply...if it were perfectly legal to rob banks, it would certainly be a lot harder to prevent bank robbery. The fact that all this spyware is perfectly legal (de facto, if not de jure) is a major difficulty. The idea that we are simply having trouble locating the perpetrators seems to me to be silly. The real problem is that law enforcement seems to be concentrating on "rights" of content providers and ignoring rights of computer owners.

dmenzies
dmenzies

Has anyone tried using command lines with MWB to script silent scans? Just curious if anyone has tried this and how it works as part of a login script. Anyone give this a shot yet?

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I have both applications on several computers and couldn't make the connection until you pointed it out. Thanks for putting the smile I get each time I hear that voice and for straightening me out.

star_topology
star_topology

You aren't the only one disappointed with your primary AV solution. We use TrendMicro and does a... not-so-good job. It does, at the very least detect an infection. Also, MalwareBytes is on the top of our toolkit list, in addition to ComboFix. Those two often resolve any infection issues within 30-45 minutes.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

I interviewed several experts and they had one thought in common. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/networking/?p=797 It's that AV and malware scanners are essentially two different applications. AV is trying to prevent malware from being installed, where as an application like MBAM is after the fact and ferreting out malware. The fact that AV is attempting to be preemptive makes it a great deal more difficult as the dropper portion of the malware can have a multitude of signatures while the actual malware is more difficult to camouflage.

nfhiggs
nfhiggs

its *by far* the most effective Anti-malware tool I have found. For the last few years I have relied on Spybot S$D, smitfraudfix, combofix and SUPERAntispyware, but since I started using MBAM as my first line tool, these old standbys have nothing left to remove.

dmenzies
dmenzies

I've run multiple MWB scans on my Win 7 64-bit machine without issue. It seems to work just fine. I use MWB and A-Squared to kill malware that SEP doesn't take out. I REALLY wish they had a centralized console like many AV products have. I'd LOVE to have remote scheduled scanning capabilities. The worst part about running malware scanners like this is having to wait around for the scans to complete. (We have high traffic multiple user PCs generally)

stevenson.hugh
stevenson.hugh

I have been doing random scans on my users pc's and laptops and I have seen MBAM find and delete a ton of malware trojans. I love it. and that it doesnt bog the machine down is also a big help.

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Michael, The AV folks could, but like most behemoths, just can't do the job. Not much different than those that got the big bonuses while their house crumbled around them.

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